Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fighting Words

"According to the Tourist Database, and I quote: 'Devukarsha, the self-declared City of Tiers, is a massive terraced-metropolis built like a staggered mega-ziggurat that leans drunkenly against and is carved deep into the very walls of the Southernmost face of the Great Rift of Riskail.'  This city is magnificent and it only merits a single sentence in the Popular Guidebooks?  A crime, surely." The Geriatric tenaflure in elegantly batiked purple robes resumed his seat with a resigned expression bordering upon disgust and distrust for all published resources.

"All roads lead to harbors where one can book passage to Devukarsha, or they simply are not worth traveling," slurred a drunken clerk from some obscure private archive who'd only gotten admitted to the party by claiming to be some distant relation to a minor satrap from Xilgao.  Security admitted him more to prevent a scene than out of any real respect for spurious foreign potentates.  It was just easier to let the braggart in than to deal with his fussing and recriminations.  In a way it was social blackmail, but a very common form of it, and one that one had best come to terms with early-on in their career or abandon event security altogether.

"Very good sir." The tenaflure perked up;  "I believe that it was Vu Chong himself who once remarked; 'Devukarsha squats provocatively over the river Senube and its attendant canals as it welcomes all the world to come unto it, enter it, and become infected by it like some fat, overly-decorated whore from one of the impromptu sailor's markets down along the waterfront.'  You have something of a poet to you perhaps." He looked earnestly at the plump clerk in the saffron waistcoat and lederhosen.

Encouraged in his increasingly lugubrious state, the clerk prepared to wax poetic to the fullest extent of his all too meager abilites.  Holding forth on his cherished and precious opinions was second only to talking about himself, in terms of his favorite topics of conversation.

"Devukarsha is a sprawling, decadent and thoroughly wicked city-state that has become a great power unto itself, just like ancient Rome under the Han Dynasty with their Olmec mercenaries and Rus jannissaries struggling valiantly to hold together the crumbling empire of the never-setting sun against the forces of corporate barbarism in the final age of annexation before the First Diaspora. Devukarsha stands (leans, really) as a last bulwark against vast and inexorable forces--"

"Surely the Han Dynasty was an African power, not a European power, unless I am mistaken." A woman clad entirely in pearls, and nothing but the finest imported pearls, interrupted his stream of consciousness.

"And the Olmecs were Americans, I believe they were part of the United States at one time," chimed-in another woman wearing a diaphanous cloud of a demi-tunic ensemble that barely managed to conceal her exceedingly pulchritudinous immodesty.  She levelled a thoroughly vacant glare at the clerk whom she was beginning to suspect of being a fraud, and not the good sort of fraud either.

Thankfully a Contractor-Captain of the Guard, one of House Entrvent's Company from the look of his silver cuirass, casually produced an antique firearm and promptly shot the clerk through his forehead.  It was an exquisitely masterful shot, a true demonstration of military puissance.  All the small coterie smiled, smirked or clapped their approval--all of which was ignored by the shaggy-maned mercenary as he replaced the baroquely-etched twenty-six shooter back into the holster, spat once on the corpse in disgust, turned and walked away.  The Contractor-Captain's psigil identified him as one Urslingen, late of Rheeshon.  Most of the usual personal data was blocked by black wards, which were technically illegal, if not an uncommon affectation amongst the sorts of barbarians who took to a life in the paramilitary.

His parting words were something to the effect of "Damn revisionists."

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